Meals and drinks, Palermo
Palermo presents an impresive range of fresh fishes . While being in Sicily I ate all my lunch at a friend mom's home, and later on I was trying to find the recipes of whatever she was making.
The fresh fishes are easy to cook, the lunch is not complicated, and the taste is simply perfect.
Here are some of the recipes:
Sicilian Salmon Recipe:
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped and crused
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
4 8 ounce Coho Salmon steaks
Remove the salmon from the refrigerator a half hour before cooking. Preheat the broiler. Combine lemon juice, the finely chopped and mashed garlic, and oregano. Cut 4 sheets of aluminum foil into squares larger than the salmon steaks. Brush the squares with olive oil and place on a broiler pan. Whisk the remaining oil and salt into the garlic mixture. Place the salmon steaks on the foil squares and bend up the foil at the sides, topping each with the garlic sauce. With the salmon 2" from the boiler, cook for 4 minutes. Turn the salmon without using juices and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Serve immediately with juice from the foil.
It wasn't really apparent which section to put this tip in but I settled for 'Local Custom' in the end.
A local chap offered a great tip on where to find the best cannoli in Palermo. It wasn't the place suggested by some of the guidebooks I'd read, but one which fortunately happened to be at about 50 metres distance of where we were at the time of receiving the advice which was also at the precise moment when we were in desperate need of a sugar hit.
The place is called Cappello and it's not far from the Palazzo Reale and Piazza Independenza. The cannoli are amazing, as is the granita di pistacchio... there were so many other things which looked great too but not enough time to try them all... next trip to Palermo!
Looks much like a Scotch egg. It is deep fried balls stuffed with rice, cheese, minced meat and peas. There is a student cafe on via maqueda just before the bridge, that makes the best i had. The one in the ones in the airport are of much poorer quality.
Deep fried Tube pastry filled with ricotta and candid fruit. Personally one of my favourite foods, we dont get them in England so i really look foward to them when going back.
Pesce Spada (Swordfish); Cooked up in nearly all restraunt's and as fresh as a daisy. Make sure you have it at least once in Sicily.
Cornetti; A crossaint filled with ricotta chesse or choclate. A breakfats pastry and goes down very well with your morning cappucino.
Fried food shops, itinerant sellers with hand-carts or bike-carts or Ape Piaggio cars, simple stalls on the sidewalk, the street food is a matter involving nearly everyone in Palermo. And you can find delicious things as "pani chi panelle" (a kind of sandwich with chick-peas croquettes inside, about 1 Euro each), or "sfinciuni" (a kind of pizza with anchovies, tomatoes, onions, pecorino cheese, ripped bread, origan and other things according to the fantasy of the maker, always 1 Euro a piece), or various kind of sausages, fried meat and kind of kebab. I liked it, my daughter too. An we liked and felt at ease with the incredible variety of people wandering around this Palermo's institution!
I have no idea what it is called, and I'm not even sure what it really is, but I had some sort of sandwich from a street vendor that kind of resembled stir-fried liver. I have to admit I was skeptical as I watched the guy scoop out the strips of something I couldn't quite recognize (I remember thinking, is that eel? mushroom? liver?)
But the lady next to me said it was a specialty of Palermo, and she had just asked the street-car-guy to make about 20 of them for her to take home to a party, so I figured they can't be all bad if someone in that dress is serving them to guests. She couldn't remember the name in English, but she said it was "the insides of an ox". mmmm.... Actually, she was right, it was really tasty.
Palermo's local customs include enjoying food, a peculiar kind of food. Meals you can have while walking in the narrow streets of the ancient city center. There you can find people with small vehicles (the Italian Piaggio Ape) equipped for cooking and heating "panelle" and "sfincione". If you visit the street market called "Vucciria" don't miss the opportunity to taste the boiled octopus. "Quarume" and "frittula" are to be easily found in the market called "Capo", they are not what we call light food!
Watermelons can always be bought and tasted in the right season (from June to August) and they are sold ice-cold to help people to bear the tropical temperatures of the Sicilian summer. Enjoy...
As for all the Mediterranean area, wine (beside wheat and olive) is something more than a staple agricultural production: culture, sociology, land management are all influenced by the organisation of grapeyards. Sicily is a land of great wines and lots of them may be tasted at the Permanent Exhibition of Sicily's Wines: . It's open daily 9.00 to 12.30 at Via Maqueda 92, in the centre of Palermo.
Cassata di Ricotta. Ricotta cheese, fruits and almonds. A dessert that comes from the Arabs. Specially sweet, it's one of the best desserts i've tried.